Coron, Palawan: The Cheapest, Best Holiday Ever

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Where I stayed
Mommita's Lodge
What I did
Island-hopping, Snorkeling, Swimming, Walking Tour, Shopping in the Local Market
Walking Tour, Trekking, Snorkeling, Swimming, Shopping, Munching a Lot, Enjoying the Sun, Sand, and Sea,

Flag of Philippines  , Palawan,
Thursday, February 3, 2011

I have just been to Palawan this year of February together with my two Filipino friends Macky and Jomai and my partner from Europe. It was our first time ever to visit Coron and we experienced something that is truly incomparable from our other holiday trips.

From Manila we took a flight to Busuanga (Coron airport) via Zest Air. Aboard the craft as we looked outside the window we were surprised to see the grandeur of scattered islands surrounded by white sandy beaches which gave me a hint that these might be the ones featured in the Department of Tourism's WOW Philippines: It’s More than the Usual tourism campaign ad way back 2003 in the "Island" category. To be truly captivated here's my justification. Click on the the link to see the video (courtesy of DOT) What I witnessed was as stunning as this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN6yaYKkLzM

In Busuanga Airport leaflets and brochures comprising hotels, pension houses, and backpacker inns; native and theme restaurants; to tour packages were properly distributed with abundant and of quality choices although,as per my observation a common facility establishment problem that I considered was the dirty and uncomfortable restroom. Anyway, from the airport it was very much accessible to get to Coron town via a shuttle van service costing P250.00 each that took us 20-30 minutes. While traveling we were able to see the land formations like mountains covering the island of Busuanga. The breathtaking moment of viewing a nice scenery was disrupted by the road full of potholes that we were traversing into.

We never made a room reservation in order for us to experience the real holiday island trip and we ended looking for one after a couple of hours because we never thought that that month of February was a peak season. The inns seemed to be close to each other so it was not really difficult to search for a room, and likewise tricycles were seemingly available all the time on the streets with a fare of P10.00 per passenger. We found Amphibi-ko Resort adorned with native Filipino materials that was obviously inviting. We stayed there for a night for P1,200.00 including breakfast. The rate was supposed to be P1500.00 but because the power only ran from 6 pm-6 am we were able to avail a discount. The resort was pretty in nature and the facilities were well-maintained and apparently simply at par excellence for the said price. There was a free wi-fi connection; breakfast was great; friendly employees and they also served Japanese cuisine. We stayed on the second level of the resort and we realized that at daytime there was no water for there was no power to run the water pressure, it was not nice to stay sweaty and sun-scented the whole hot day without taking a shower so we moved out and there we found the Mommita's Lodge.

Mommita's Lodge was actually a second choice because no private toilet in each room was  offered, rather only common toilet and shower. But as we saw it, it was tidy and well-kept. For an overnight stay rate of P600.00, we found it worthwhile. The good thing did not end there for we found out that a meal rate of P200.00/head was also offered. Mommita's Inn was considered an ancestral house turned into an inn run by the very accommodating Mommita herself with her friendly staff. I guess for a breakfast of P200.00 of fried rice, fresh fish, fried eggs, tocino and fresh tomatoes with coffee served by the hospitable staff was not really bad. It was an American-service style but served with authentic Filipino home-made cuisine, same with lunch and dinner but with fresh seafood like: jumbo, gigantic prawns, squids, fat crabs, smoked fish served up on the second floor in the cozy, private terrace of the inn, again, prepared by the staff.

Mommita also organized us a private island-hopping trip to Banana Island and Malcapuya Island costing us P850/head together with her very accommodating staff who served us lunch and snacks during our full day trip. In Mommita's Inn we felt like royalties during our entire stay served with comfort and warm Filipino hospitality.

The Banana Island was such a small island but its size doesn't equate the various activities that can be done here. We had spoken to the island owner while she was weaving and surprisingly she mentioned that the island offered an overnight stay via renting a nipa hut that could accommodate 3, 4, or even 5 guests with native beds each equipped with the old school mosquito nets. We were quite exhausted and fantasized of having a summer escapade by drinking a fresh coconut. We had been served all for free! Moving on, I walked around and I discovered that there was so much things to do on the island like beach volleyball, kayaking and of course snorkeling. Here we very much enjoyed snorkeling for we had seen schools of fish of various colors, textures, and shapes. Since fishes were seemed to be so timid, a certain staff advised us to provide them with tiny bits of bread should you like to feel them and see them close up. Yes we did and they all came to us. The good thing about this island is that, the fishes are abundant and could even be seen on the shalow water by the shore. I will do this trip again. Macky took us some photos underwater while feeding the fishes and you are able to see these photos at the bottom of my blog and you might come up with a plan of exploring this island yourself. 

We had our lunch at Malcapuya Island. This island was so laid back that you could even last a day under the palm trees on a hammock while listening to the soft melody of the waves. The sand was very soft and fine that could even be compared to a baby powder. Again as I walked around, I discovered a view deck on the leftmost stretch of the shore where you would be able to see the beauty of nature as well as the long stretch of white sand below. On the opposite righmost end, we explored and saw a chestnutbrown-colored rock formation while walking barefoot feeling the softness of the white sand. Snorkeling is not really recommended here.due to a bit of strong waves. But suma total, this island is very much recommended.

Talking about the places where we went to, first day was just fun to see the entire 360 degrees view of the entire island by way of climbing up Mt. Tapyas with approximately 750-800 steps which was a good excercise (burn those carbs baby!). Right after that we headed to the Maquinit Hot Springs to freshen up and relax. It was a very refreshing experience bathing and soaking your tired body on a natural hot springs which was also open to cater guests even in the evening. From Mt. Tapyas to Maquinit Hot Springs we made an agreement with the tricycle driver to wait for us while enjoying those happy moments for a rate of P500.00. Do try to bargain with the tricycle driver. Right after, we had a sumptuous dinner in a Thai-Filipino resto somewhere in the town plaza where I tasted a lovely Thai green curry. We had an early night for the next day's island-hopping trip.

The highlight of Coron trip was the island-hopping which we availed from Mr. Al Linsangan whom he had his own tour office with various tour options. What we chose was the package of Cayangan Lake, CYC Island, Twin Lagoon of divided hot and cold waters, and two different coral gardens. Before we sailed, he gave us an orientation on safety and on the itinerary of what to see and expect to those attractions. If I'm not mistaken, each of us paid P250.00 or P350.00 including lunch together with other tourists of the same boat. The entire trip was all about snorkelling wherein corals of majestic colors were seen as well as lagoons of blue-green pristine waters; and a plunge to the CYC Beach as the last part.

 As we were sailing, beautiful scattered islands caught our attention and we were left in awe as if we were just watching the National Geographic Channel featuring the most beautiful places on earth, most especially when we reached the Cayangan Lake. But before reaching the Cayangan Lake, we needed to go across the mountain. Halfway through to the lake was the mountain's viewdeck, there we witnessed a perfect view, a view that was so panoramic. A view that I thought could only be seen in the post cards of Coron, Palawan that brings a peace of mind of a clear blue sky, emerald crytal clear water and enormous spectacular limestones.

Next stop: Twin Lagoon. From the name itself, the Twin Lagoon comprises two lagoons separated by a rock formation. The first one was where we docked, that I consider the outer; and the second where we were required to climb up a six-foot high bamboo ladder toward the inner lagoon enveloped by the limestones in order for us to experience its distinct characteristic of having a hot and cold water in a lone lagoon. As I reached the platform, I unintentionally screamed "wow!" due to my astonishment.of a paradise-like view. I jumped off the platform
and suddenly shiver embraced my entire body, the water was cold. As I moved to the center, the palpable transition from cold to hot water temperature filled my body with a certain degree of wellness and relaxation. My partner felt so happy for this extraordinary lagoon and even stated "We should spend a whole day here." Snorkelling is not really advisable to do here, but a mere floating is strongly suggested while watching those towering limestones, the lush greens and the clear water entwined with the peaceful sound of the chirping birds..

However, of all the islands in this trip that I got really disappointed to was the CYC Beach. I wondered how was this badly treated. It was dumped by garbage of various people who previously visited and that theory was based on my observation during that time wherein there was another group of locals who had been there before we came watching how they just dumped their garbage in one point on the island. Likewise bonfire marks could be observed around the island. However, to refrain myself from pessimism about the reality, the trip emerged to be so lovely and memorable.

My European partner was extremely happy that we visited Coron, Palawan for he himself was definitely amazed by the natural wonders it offers not to forget the warm Filipino hospitality given by Mommita and the villagers. He even keeps on talking to his friends his memorable experience he had to his friends in Europe and just a month ago, five of his friends visited it and had exactly the same fun experience. For my Filipino friends and I, we also felt the extreme fun we have been looking for in a certain tourist destination, but what makes me much extremely happier is the happiness that I shared to foreign visitors who find our country as WOW as a paradise.
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Comments

Michael Emmenegger on

I had a wonderful time in this destination together with my friends and can recommend the place to everybody.

anna riparip on

Your blog is really enticing. I have been captivated by your great photos and alluring experience you've shared. nature is really a magnificent craft molded by Him..

leisurely_nomad
leisurely_nomad on

Thank you so much for the appreciation.

Macky on

Nice blog!!!! the guy in red really looks good harharhar!!!!

leisurely_nomad
leisurely_nomad on

Luckily you're a good friend of mine :)

jomai on

Awesome! Great place & wonderful people to be with! Until next time... Now, you just made me miss Coron & wanna go back... Let's go back!

leisurely_nomad
leisurely_nomad on

It's really a lovely place, a place that I am so much proud of.... I guess we have been to 5 different islands then, we should visit the 999 remaining....
hehehehe!

jöy:-) on

Nice one Paul! I will definitely visit the place when i go back home! continue exploring the beauty of the Philippines!
cheers from germany!

Khay on

Hi! I just would like to ask how much in total did it cost you to stay and enjoy Coron? You were three, right? I and my friends are planning to go there in September, and I am currently going blogs over blogs I can find. LOL.

Nice blog, indeed! I felt excited. :)

Thanks in advance, and I hope to hear from you soon..

Khay on

Am sorry, I must have overlooked... You were four, hehe. We are going there in a group of 4 as well so your inputs will be greatly appreciated. Thanks again! :))

leisurely_nomad
leisurely_nomad on

Hi Khay,

It was really unexpected to achieve a trip as best as this.... more significantly as cheap as this (too good to be true!).

As far as I remember and if i'm not mistaken, each one of us brought out roughly P4k-P5k for that long stay including the airfare for we were able to avail Zest Air's promo (though Cebupac is strongly recommended).

You will definitely enjoy Coron, however as per geographical facts, please do expect rainy days and pitching while you are aboard the motorboat during your island-hopping activity for September is a monsoon season; though I know you will find ways to make your tour worthwhile.

Kindly share with me your future Coron blog... I am anticipating for that. :-D

I look forward to your fun and enjoyment as you explore one of the Philippines' natural wonders.




Cheers,
leisurely_nomad

Khay on

Hi again! Thank you so much for your tips.

I will get back to you as soon as I get back from our much-awaited tour of the year.

Stay safe! :)

Sebastian on

Coron coron coron...
You just need to find cheaper hotel rates to enjoy this wonderful place.
Actually i booked once at Golets.com and i got cheaper rates at Coron Hilltop.
Hopefully i can go back next year.

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